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The Struggles of Hispanic Newcomer Students in Rural Small Town Schools

Jane B Miller, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The image of small Midwest rural schools has changed drastically in the past few years. Sitting amongst the descendants of the early pioneers from European nations who arrived in covered wagons, one finds new faces whose families still retain their traditions and use their native languages along with their newly adopted one. These primarily Latino newcomer students face significant challenges as they become part of these rapidly changing communities and require additional support to ensure future academic success. This dissertation analyzed the availability and level of supports for newcomer students in these small rural Midwestern communities and demonstrated how the availability and use of supports present for the students are integral to academic success. In this qualitative study, the stories of four Latino newcomer high school graduates from a small rural town with recent and significant increases in Hispanic populations were disclosed to the researcher through personal interviews. As the underlying circumstances for each participant’s arrival are similar, a pattern emerged as to the reasons for the academic successes and failures of each participant. The supports revealed include the availability of English language instruction and extracurricular activities in the schools, plus encouragement from family members, teachers, and the communities that surround them. These results point to the need for schools and communities to increase the availability of academic assistance and extracurricular activities and provide mentorships for newcomer students. This is especially critical if familial or social support for the students is lacking.

Subject Area

English as a Second Language|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

Miller, Jane B, "The Struggles of Hispanic Newcomer Students in Rural Small Town Schools" (2016). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10144613.